I HAVE NOT MUCH TO GIVE THEE, LORD
Published by Salvation Army Publishing & Supplies
66/78 Denington Road,
Denington Industrial Estate,
Wellingborough, Northants, NN8 2QH
I HAVE NOT MUCH TO GIVE THEE, LORD SATB - a cappella
Music: Dick Krommenhoek English
Lyrics: Richard Slater (SASB 475)
Written on 16-17 March 1888 and included in a booklet of Songs of Love and Service to be sung at the marriage celebrations of Miss Emma Booth and Commissioner Tucker in the St James´s Hall and Clapton Congress Hall, 9-10 April 1888.
There were originally seven verses, but one was omitted when the song, entitled ´I have not much to give Thee, Lord´, appeared in The Musical Salvationist, May 1888. (Companion to the Song Book, page 8 & 9)
WHY AND WHAT
Jesus had been teaching for a long time and the disciples go to Jesus because everybody is getting hungry and the disciples say: Now Jesus, why don´t you send everybody home so that they can get themselves fed? (Mark 6)
If you want to see hopelessness, look at the disciples when Jesus told them to feed these 5000 hungry people.
It is interesting, because there was nothing unclear about what it is that he asked them to do. But the disciples looked at the magnitude of the need, and then they looked at their own puny resources and they thought: this can´t have anything to do with us.
So then what does Jesus say? Very interesting, he simply asks: well, what do you have? Well they don´t have anything, so they have to bring forward what they do have, which, you remember, is the little boy with the picnic lunch which his mom had packed for him to go to hear Jesus, and he had five loaves and two fish. This is when the apostle Andrew enters the conversation and, looking at the five loaves and two fish, he says: What are these, among so many?
But what does Jesus say? He simply says: Give it to me. What do you have? Will you give it to me? And in that moment Jesus takes responsibility for the miracle and proceeds to feed 5000 people, to overflowing. You know, he did not ask the disciples for what was needed, he simply asked them for what they had – and would they give it to him, so that he could do the miracle.
God is passionate about getting his miracles done - in our time and age too. All he needs is for us to give to him the little we have. For him that is enough!
May we never cease to dedicate all that we are and all that we have to the service of God and never cease to sing from the bottom of our hearts: ´I have not much to give thee, Lord, but all I have is thine.´
This song is quite demanding, and only skilled choirs and choir leaders should take this on.
Our Salvation Army close-harmony vocal music style needs a choir balance with more altos than sopranos and more basses than tenors. A choir, for example, with 10 sopranos, should ideally have 12 altos, 5 tenors and 8 basses. Only choirs that approach this kind of balance can produce the richness of the harmony as intended.
The ´rubato´ indication is essential for keeping the song attractive.
´Staggering´ wherever the text should not be interrupted is recommended. For example, if possible, it would be best not to break for collective breathing when moving from the verse into the chorus. This demands much practice but gives a great result.
Though the song is meant to be performed ´a cappella´, a very quiet background piano support may be needed.